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Care and feeding of a guitar

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GUEST,Puffenkinty 02 Dec 04 - 08:37 PM
GUEST,Kaleea (pc acting up) 03 Dec 04 - 02:59 AM
Ross 03 Dec 04 - 03:46 AM
s&r 03 Dec 04 - 04:16 AM
Dave Hanson 03 Dec 04 - 04:17 AM
Paco Rabanne 03 Dec 04 - 04:20 AM
mooman 03 Dec 04 - 05:32 AM
Davetnova 03 Dec 04 - 06:03 AM
Hand-Pulled Boy 03 Dec 04 - 08:23 AM
Ross 03 Dec 04 - 08:26 AM
Cluin 03 Dec 04 - 08:28 AM
Cluin 03 Dec 04 - 08:29 AM
GUEST,Whistle Stop 03 Dec 04 - 09:48 AM
GUEST 03 Dec 04 - 11:29 AM
GUEST 03 Dec 04 - 03:54 PM
GUEST,Puffenkinty 03 Dec 04 - 09:01 PM
number 6 03 Dec 04 - 11:17 PM
Bernard 04 Dec 04 - 01:47 PM
Cluin 04 Dec 04 - 02:29 PM
Clinton Hammond 04 Dec 04 - 02:44 PM
Dave4Guild 05 Dec 04 - 08:07 AM
mooman 05 Dec 04 - 08:39 AM
Big Al Whittle 05 Dec 04 - 09:13 AM
GUEST,Cluin 06 Dec 04 - 12:03 AM
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Subject: Care and feeding of a guitar
From: GUEST,Puffenkinty
Date: 02 Dec 04 - 08:37 PM

I've just been fortunate to acquire a gently
used Taylor guitar.

What steps are involved in "setting up" a guitar and
how often should it be done?

What are the best techniques for putting on
new strings? Any helpful hints?

Any other tips on the care and feeding of this
wonderful instrument?

Thanks


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Subject: RE: Care and feeding of a guitar
From: GUEST,Kaleea (pc acting up)
Date: 03 Dec 04 - 02:59 AM

Puff--
   I hope your experience with taylor is better than the one I had. Horrendous ear shatteringly bad intonation was the problem. HOWEVER-----
   * Never feed your guitar dirt &/or let plants grow out of it.
   * No spitting beer foam on it no matter how raunchy the joke you just heard was.
   * No using guitars for putting, batting, or kicking practice.
   * Remember to use your $10 yard sale gee-tar for el-Cabonging neer-do-wells.
   *Always carefully scrape 2 day old pizza off before it cements onto the finish.

But seriously, I've been playing @ 35 years & teaching @30 with my old 1964 Gibson J-45. The string winding technique I reccommend the most is to ensure that the strings are wrapped around the tuner post at LEAST THREE TIMES. Everytime you tune a string you usually tighten (or stretch) it. You'll get the best wear if you wrap it & lock the string on. I don't know how to explain that part--some folks wait till they are done winding, lace the extra string end back through the hole again, bend it up, & cut with wire cutters. DON'T cut ends till you have the string on correctly.
    It's a good idea to use a de/humidifier depending upon your climate & weather conditions. You can get one at a good Music store. Keep your guitar in the case when not playing unless it is in a very well temperature/humidity controlled room. NEVER store your instrument outdoors, in a garage, in a cold wintery closet, near furnace, vents, air refrigeration units, etc. (& maybe boisterous kids & animals, & drunks, too.) IE: avoid big changes in temperatures. You can get some good guitar polish, too. It's good to clean it to get the oils from our skin off it. There is also a product called fast fret which conditions the fingerboard (some kids call it the "fret"board in these modern times) which will also help keep the strings clean. Our natural oils from skin as well as sometimes perspiration &/or dirt build up so it's good to remove it.
    There's lots of other stuff I go over with students during the process of lessons over time, but that's some of the most immediate. If you have the chance, find a good guitar instructor & learn all you can from her/him.


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Subject: RE: Care and feeding of a guitar
From: Ross
Date: 03 Dec 04 - 03:46 AM

Taylor guitars are notoriously difficult to look after

If I was you - I'd give it to me

*grin*


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Subject: RE: Care and feeding of a guitar
From: s&r
Date: 03 Dec 04 - 04:16 AM

Play it all the time. Wipe the strings and fingerboard; change strings regularly (before they need it). Accept the occasional knock: try to avoid it, but don't lose sight of the pleasure there is in playing nice instruments. Carry it in a hard case; put it on a secure and stable guitar stand. When you change strings oil the fingerboard lightly, and check that no frets are lifting, particularly at the ends.

Have it set up for your preferences if you like - if you're happy with the feel leave well alone. Most guitars of good make only need setting up once in a blue moon, following changes in humidity, aging, or wear and tear.

Humidifiers are great - central heating is dire.

Stu


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Subject: RE: Care and feeding of a guitar
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 03 Dec 04 - 04:17 AM

Go to Frets.com everything in the world about guitar maintainence, and more.

eric


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Subject: RE: Care and feeding of a guitar
From: Paco Rabanne
Date: 03 Dec 04 - 04:20 AM

Give it a fox sandwich every day.


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Subject: RE: Care and feeding of a guitar
From: mooman
Date: 03 Dec 04 - 05:32 AM

I second the recommendation for the

frets.com

website. It contains a wealth of information on the care and feeding of guitars and other fretted instruments, how to change strings, etc. Just scroll down the page linked above to "General maintenance".

Good luck with your Taylor!

Peace

moo


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Subject: RE: Care and feeding of a guitar
From: Davetnova
Date: 03 Dec 04 - 06:03 AM

plectrums, raws fine, cooking seems to spoil them. Don't give it too much to drink, the occassional spot of drool is fine. NO BEER, for some reason guitars just seem to go to bits when drunk.
But play it! Music seems to be the food guitars love most.


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Subject: RE: Care and feeding of a guitar
From: Hand-Pulled Boy
Date: 03 Dec 04 - 08:23 AM

My guitar is 40 years old next year and has just realised that life begins at 40. However, I've just discovered that it's pregnant which is most unexpected!


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Subject: RE: Care and feeding of a guitar
From: Ross
Date: 03 Dec 04 - 08:26 AM

What do you expect when your guitar's an old slapper?

Many apologies - don't know what came over me

Said your guitar


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Subject: RE: Care and feeding of a guitar
From: Cluin
Date: 03 Dec 04 - 08:28 AM

As far as a set-up goes, with a new guitar, you should gicve it at least a couple of months of regular playing (like every day, if you can) with it tuned up to concert pitch (A440... an electronic tuner should get you there by default). Then find a good guitar tech (ask at one of your local music stores... they should be able to recommend someone or have one on staff) and get him/her to do a set-up, customized around your preferences for playing style, string gauge, etc.

Set-ups are pretty straightforward and easy for a guit-tech so you won't need "the-best-in-the-biz" for one (unless a big problem is encountered like a neck reset or some Dremel and filing adjustments to the bridge or nut) and they only take a few minutes, usually. But the difference can be like night and day on your machine; it'll play and sound much better. The tech will also install your new strings properly for you too so you can see how it should be done.


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Subject: RE: Care and feeding of a guitar
From: Cluin
Date: 03 Dec 04 - 08:29 AM

Forgot to mention that, since you guitar isn't new, you can take it to the tech right away.


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Subject: RE: Care and feeding of a guitar
From: GUEST,Whistle Stop
Date: 03 Dec 04 - 09:48 AM

I agree with the frets.com recommendation; it's an excellent resource. Also, you might visit the Taylor guitars web site. In addition to making fine instruments, and influencing a lot of other guitar makers, Taylor has really taken the lead on getting useful information on "care and feeding" out to the guitar playing public. The publish a number of tip sheets on restringing, humidificaiton, etc.

You should also contact Taylor and ask to receive their newsletter Wood & Steel. It's 3/4 marketing hype, but also typically contains useful information on caring for your guitar (with timely seasonal reminders about humidifiers and so forth).

Enjoy your new guitar! -- WS


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Subject: RE: Care and feeding of a guitar
From: GUEST
Date: 03 Dec 04 - 11:29 AM

if you need to ask such basic questiions,
then you should not have 'aquired' this guitar..

so take it back to its owner and apologise before the police
are called in..


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Subject: RE: Care and feeding of a guitar
From: GUEST
Date: 03 Dec 04 - 03:54 PM

"...easy Leonard, go easy bro..."


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Subject: RE: Care and feeding of a guitar
From: GUEST,Puffenkinty
Date: 03 Dec 04 - 09:01 PM

Thanks to all who replied, even the grump who
wrote at 11:29 on Dec. 03.

I've played guitar for a lot of years, starting
with an old Vega with a hole in the side. Then I played
a homemade number with a lovely tone. However, it had been stashed in a closet for years, (I found it by accident) and
developed a fatal crack from being dried out. (It had had over
20 years in the closet.)

I acquired an Alvarez to play in shows like "Twelfth Night"
and "Hair". It was subjected to all sorts of conditions
like hot stage lights and abrupt transitions to cold
dressing rooms. It survived, (and so did I), but
the action was tough.

Now I am finally at a time of my life where I can
afford a fine guitar. However, I am finding a LOT of
conflicting info about proper care.

The Taylor website says not to loosen all the strings
at once when re-stringing. Frets.com says to take off all
the strings.

Some sites recommend certain polish. Others say leave the finish alone.

Some sites say change the strings every third gig.... Etc. etc.

I'm just trying to get a sense of other people's
experience.

I play my Taylor every day, mornings and evenings. God! It has
a gorgeous tone.


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Subject: RE: Care and feeding of a guitar
From: number 6
Date: 03 Dec 04 - 11:17 PM

What model of Taylor is it?

They are sweet guitars. I own a 310. Was going to purchase a 410, but there was this certain 310 that seem to outshine all the other models. I promptly grabbed this one up. One bit of advice is use medium strings (Elixirs), they at Taylor suggest that. I tried using lights, but the richness and depth was definately missing. Changing strings can only be determined by you. I find it time for a string change when 'that sound' tells me it's time. I've always changed 1 string at a time, has worked for me so far. Polish, I never polished a geetar in my life.

Enjoy your Taylor!


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Subject: RE: Care and feeding of a guitar
From: Bernard
Date: 04 Dec 04 - 01:47 PM

I, too, have always been in the habit of changing strings one at a time, no matter what make of guitar it is. It's personal preference rather than anything else, but it seems to me the logical way to go about it. My 35 year old Yamahas have never complained!! And I bought them new!

When to change strings? I'd agree there, too, and say it's when you don't like how they sound! It depends a lot on how you play, and how you look after them, but ultimately the sound they make is the only real guide.

Nor have I never ever used polish on a guitar, I just keep it clean with a soft cloth - which lives in the case with the instrument.

The guage of strings is a personal thing, too - heavier strings sound better (unless they cause the guitar to collapse!!), but it may require a compromise between comfort and sound...


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Subject: RE: Care and feeding of a guitar
From: Cluin
Date: 04 Dec 04 - 02:29 PM

Taking all the strings off won't hurt the guitar. I do it often and oil the fingerboard about once a year (a light coating of linseed oil which I wipe off after a few minutes). Clean and polish the whole guitar too. This stuff is good.

Yes, I know many luthiers advise that none of these things need to be done to your instrument, but they often seem to forget that you will be playing the thing in all sorts of hostlie environments. It goes out in the cold, comes into the hot, things get spilled splattered, drooled, thrown, sprayed at it. Cigarette smoke, beer, sticky shooters and shots of liquor in close proximitry... my guitar gets filthy in the bars I play in. The damn thing gets sticky and cruddy and like nothing better than a good cleaning and polishing so my hands don't stick to it any more. I bought the thing to play it, not baby it. A good quality instrument can take a certain amount of abuse and come back for more.


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Subject: RE: Care and feeding of a guitar
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 04 Dec 04 - 02:44 PM

I set mine up on the first -real- Nice Day Of Spring, and air 'em out...   After a winter of bar/pub gigs they usually get stanky enough I can smell 'em all over the house... So, at least once a year, I set 'em up on the front porch, on a good solid stand, and let the wind blow through 'em for a couple of hours... While that is going on, I vacuum out the cases, and shpritz a little Febreeze into 'em... Toss the fabric guitar straps into the wash.... No point in cleaning up the guitar to put it back into the same crud-filled case it's been in all year...

When the guitars no longer smell like ashtrays, I bring 'em in, and oil the fret-boards... damp-cloth off everything else... check for stuff like new 'dings'... burrs on saddles/nuts... possible developing loose connections in pick-ups... just standard close-up once-around....


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Subject: RE: Care and feeding of a guitar
From: Dave4Guild
Date: 05 Dec 04 - 08:07 AM

A tip I heard years ago was to leave the guitar on a stand near to your Hi-Fi speakers so that when the music is playing the guitar gently vibrates and helps to mature the sound. I did this for my now 30year old Guild D55 and it sounds wonderful, but how much of this is due to leaving it near speakers I don't know!
While it is out on a stand it will be played more often which is a good thing and I rarely leave guitars in cases except during transit, but of course there are no kids, dogs or other dangers around - when my grandchildren come to visit the instruments are promptly put away safely.

Just love it and talk nicely to it and you won't go far wrong!


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Subject: RE: Care and feeding of a guitar
From: mooman
Date: 05 Dec 04 - 08:39 AM

As a onetime full time repairer, I'd recommend changing strings one at a time under normal circumstances. However, it will do no harm taking them all off...it has to be done for major repairs or for periodic maintenance. It just takes a little longer for the guitar to restabilise afterwards.

Peace

moo


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Subject: RE: Care and feeding of a guitar
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 05 Dec 04 - 09:13 AM

never walk across the M1 with your eyes closed carrying the guitar. seriously though

Get somebody good to do the set up
talk to somebody who plays one professionally, and whose style you like. Ask about anything. strings, picks, the stuff he uses to clean it, even who set it up for him. Things to watch out for - eg the case and peripherals, the stand.

contact guitarist magazine - see if there is a review, there may be one online. check the makers spec is right. the shop sometimes gives you the wrong guitar - identifies it wrongly!

all these things I would just do automatically. PennyBlack will tell you, I crossed England just to chat for a while with somebody who was already using my latest guitar in a pro setting.

Take a deep breath, do a gig, and think what have I got to do to make it better.

buying the guitar is only half the commitment.


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Subject: RE: Care and feeding of a guitar
From: GUEST,Cluin
Date: 06 Dec 04 - 12:03 AM

Right, moo. I forgot to mention that I only take off all the strings when I won't be using the guitar for a gig for a few days. Give the neck and top that much time to readjust to the tension.


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